Daily Wire Tip Jan. 1: Coating Wire and Polishing Pliers

By on January 1, 2010
Print Friendly

Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
January 01, 2010


In the resource center it mentions “To prevent that discoloration, copper jewelry is often coated with a clear protective surface, such as an acrylic, but the coating eventually wears away.”  How would a person coat the wire without coating any stone or bead used in the design and with what kind of acrylic?
Also, the resource states that in order not to scratch the wire the edges of the pliers should be gently filed then, “Make sure all surfaces are polished for a very smooth surface.” How and with what do you polish the jaws of the pliers?


Thanks for taking the time to read through our resources! To answer your first question, as far as I know there is no way to coat ‘just’ the wire. If you were to coat the wire before creating the coating would come off during the design process. Most folks who use a substance like this choose a spray and suspend their finished item to enable a complete coating.

As for pliers, personally I like and need a good sharp edge as long as it has no burrs! To remove burrs you can just use a diamond file and to polish and finish use a ‘closed coat’, Aluminum Oxide or Silicon Carbide, 400 to 600 super fine grit sandpaper and then finish with steel wool.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

Have a question? Submit your question here!


  1. avatar

    Gailavira Jewelry

    January 1, 2010 at 9:22 am

    If using a spray acrylic, you can use a small piece of tape with very little adhesive to cover the stone, spray, then quickly and carefully remove the tape from the stone. You need to remove the tape before the acrylic dries so that it doesn\’t cause the tape to adhere to the metal. It may be easiest to use tweezers to remove the tape so you don\’t harm the coating that you just applied.

  2. avatar


    January 1, 2010 at 9:32 am

    you can use rubber cement to cover your stones when applying acrylic spray to copper and brass pieces, the rubber cement just peels right off when you are finished. hope this helps!

    • avatar


      January 1, 2010 at 10:49 am

      Too cool ‘bozo25′, thanks for sharing!

  3. avatar

    Casey Willson

    January 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Some may like this and some may think its non-professional but I use and have used for years the generic version of “Mop N GLow”. If there is no stone or I’m using a soft porous stone I just dip the whole thing in mop N shine (Family or Dollar General version) then DROP onto a pad of paper towels to shake off the excess and let dry. With a good stone, cameo, etc I paint it on, being careful to avoid making bubbles.
    It takes some practice to get this right so practice on really inexpensive things. I also coat all my base metal findings and sometimes silver. You have to be sure they are very clean first as you don’t want to have to go back and try to take this stuff off. Its like iron! But it prevents most allergic reactions and tarnish for quite a long while.

  4. avatar


    January 1, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    From everything I’ve researched and everyone I’ve spoken to has suggested Renaissance Wax. The professional metalsmiths I’ve spoken with say the acrylic spray doesn’t work over time & the piece ends up worse. Professional Restorers and Conservators use Renaissance Wax for wood, jewelry horn, ivory and leather. It’s also PH neutral and won’t darken or discolour.

  5. avatar


    January 4, 2010 at 9:31 am

    During this economic time we are all looking at rethinking our designs and using substitute metals we normally wouldn’t use, such as copper. Copper does tarnish, acquiring a patina that some people actually like and others hate. It is the nature of the metal. The idea of suspending a piece and spraying it or dipping it in something to retard the tarnishing of this base metal is something I had never thought about doing. Interesting bit of information.
    As for the plier problem and scratches in the wire, investing in good high quality tools will reduce this problem simply because of the way the pliers has been manufactured and the type of steel it was made of. Also, alot of times, scratches result from one over compensating in the strength being applied to work the wire. One tends to forget that the tool serves a specific function and to do its job, it needs to not be in a strangle hold because we are trying to do the work that the tool does by forcing it along.

  6. avatar

    Jessie Adams

    January 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    There is precoated copper wire out there that is clear and in opaque colors that I experimented with this summer. I picked it up at the local JoAnn’s Fabric. The coating is not too thick and offers some protection and is similar in feel to anodized product.
    There are also nylon jaw pliers out there available from the bigger jewelry supply companies, that you can research on line. As Dale said you won’t get as crisp a bend but they won’t damage.
    Finally I have used my pliers to deliberatly texture the wire so that dings will look like part of a pattern.
    Don’t forget about your local metal recycling center for larger wire too.
    Have Fun! Experiment!